The gift of warmth

By Posted on Dec 27 2018 | By

Hope Center of Fauquier Warming Station comes blanketed with love

For the vast majority of us the idea of being homeless is unimageable. No rented room, no apartment, no home. Simply roaming the streets seeking shelter wherever. And yet, it’s a condition that over a half a million people in the U.S. experience every night.

Poverty, mental illness, and addiction come to mind when the subject of street people surfaces. In fact, 20 percent of those seeking shelter out of doors are mentally ill or suffering from chronic substance abuse. The rest are poor, stuck in low paying jobs, experiencing domestic violence or simply cashless in a wealthy Nation.

The resources brought to bear to counter the problem at the national level are staggering: $11 billion annually. Still the plight persists. Social service agencies nationwide struggle to deal with what seems an intractable condition.

The case can be made that human nature will always include those who cannot—for whatever reason—care for themselves. Our better natures and belief in the respect of the individual compels us to act. “There for the grace of God go I.”

The dated term Noblesse oblige encapsulates the concept that nobility requires a person to fulfill social responsibilities. Before charity, justice.

But family, work and social commitments often bury our obligations to the less fortunate as we focus on the pressing needs of our own lives. So, it is unique when a small group of people band together to help what many believe to be a hopeless situation.

Enter Reverend Tyrone Green, pastor of Hearts Delight Baptist Church. The pastor works in concert with two other churches, Zoar Baptist and Mount Horeb United Methodist Church.  All three are located in Catlett and augment Fauquier and Culpeper Counties in assisting the homeless.

Hearts Delight Baptist
Reverend Green was the youth pastor at Oak Shade Baptist church in Catlett for 10 years before being asked to lead Hearts Delight Baptist. The church was founded 150 years ago and has a long history of serving the community.

The congregation may not have realized they were bringing a whirlwind on board when they asked Green to take charge. They learned soon enough. “My pastor at Oak Shade told them I was going to drive them crazy. And that’s essentially what happened. I don’t sleep. I love working in prison ministries, the singles ministry and more.

“What the world needs now is not just to hear about the love but to see the love,” said Green.

Within minutes of meeting Green, a listener can get swept up in his enthusiasm. Here is a man who sees every problem as an opportunity. And has the charisma to ignite that passion in others.

“To tell the truth, I see a lot of churches but I don’t always see a lot of God’s love in those churches,” said Green. That’s not a problem at Hearts Delight.

Oak Shade Baptist where Green honed his ministry skills is one the largest African-American churches in the region with some 200 members. Hearts Delight has about 50 members and it gave Green the opportunity to take charge on his own terms. A responsibility he eagerly embraced.

“Hearts Delight is not just an African-American church. We don’t do colors. We do Jesus. It was a great opportunity and honor for me to make the move in January 2016.” In almost three years at the helm much has been accomplished.

Green believed his focus was to embrace the entire community through his church. He sponsored talks by a number of local and state politicians and successful men and women in the private sector.

Ken Harvey, a former linebacker with the Redskins and sports columnist for The Washington Post, and Tracey Morgan, an award-winning broadcaster and highly respected Gospel music show host were among guest speakers at his active program.

Additionally, he held community-wide fairs at his church, mother-daughter teas, and painting classes for people who had never seen a blank canvas. He even organized distribution of free turkeys with side dish ingredients to the all police and first responders in Fauquier and Culpeper County.

No avenue to build the love of God was ignored.

Warming Center
In the midst of his growing activism Green began getting calls asking for help with the homeless problem. He learned the local governments had only so much room and limited resources to tackle the vexing issue.

“I told them, ‘you have a partner to help you’.” Hearts Delight joined forces with Zoar Baptist and Mount Horeb United Methodist to create the Hope Center of Fauquier Warming Station.

The first step was to gain more information on the scope and nuances of the situation. Working with the Culpeper Housing & Shelter Services he learned how they ran their shelter and when their 15-bed facility reached maximum capacity.

“CHSS provided a lot of information. For example, I thought if you offered a homeless person a place to stay, they would accept it. Not so. They first have to learn to trust you,” said Green.

It’s emblematic of street life that it hardens individuals and makes them wary of strangers, no matter how well-intended they are. Once the learning curve was mastered, the Warming Station began serving the needy.

It is open seven days a week from November 1 until March 1. The police or county shelters contact the center and arrange to have a person stay in one of the three participating churches. Each church provides up to five days lodging per person on a rotational basis.

In each church a multi-use room is set up with cots, blankets and pillows. Food is also served.  “We let them sleep there but also have someone available to talk with them. But our main focus is not to minister to them. We want them to see the love of God not just hear the word.

“Some nights there is no one there and other nights one or two people. We do not want anyone to die during the winter months because they have no place to stay,” said Green.

It’s reassuring when a community comes together to meet a need, especially if that need involves a possible loss of life. It’s also reassuring in a world of increasing self-centeredness that average citizens can extend a hand to pull someone back from the abyss.

For more information, contact person and phone number to access the Warming Center visit their Facebook page at:

Published in the December 26, 2018  edition of the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES